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How much money is needed to get married and start a family in Singapore?

10 Mar 2014 
SOURCE: SG Young Investment

​Starting a family of your own is part and parcel of life. It sounds interesting to get married, get your first house and then have children. It may seem exciting but it actually requires a lot of responsibility and commitment from both the husband as well as the wife.

We all know that wedding and buying a house may be the 2 biggest expenses which we will face in our life. If we can have a glimpse of the cost involved and prepare in advance, then I think we can go through this process with our dearest more easily and with lesser stress. Wedding is a romantic event and owning your own house is a dream for many. These are both lovely events. The last thing we want is to quarrel with our spouse over money matters. With a little preparation, i'm sure we can indeed have a lovely and romantic time of our lives.

I've researched on the various wedding and housing costs which is required for any young adult planning to settle down and start a family. I hope this will help you in preparing for the 2 biggest event of your life.

 

Wedding

 
The wedding below is an estimated cost of a typical Chinese wedding with banquet.
 
  1. Wedding Package: $3000-$6000 (wedding dress, evening gown, photoshoot, wedding album, photo frame)
  2. Wedding Bands/Rings: $2000-$4000
  3. Wedding solemnization: $3000-$5000 (rental of gown, photographer and videographer, bridesmaid dresses rentals and so on)
  4. Wedding Banquet: $30,000-$36,000 (30 tables for $1000-$1200 each)
  5. Honeymoon: $5000
Total cost for wedding: $43,000-$56,000

 
Does this cost sound shocking to you? If it is, then you're not prepared for a wedding. I guess this is the average cost most couples will incur for their weddings. $43k is the minimum for an average wedding with banquet. For weddings, of course you get Ang Baos (red packet) from your guest and relatives. If each guest gives $80-$100, then you'll get back $24,000-$30,000.

 
This leaves us with a net cost for the whole wedding at:

Cost of wedding after collecting Ang Baos: $19,000-$26,000.

This is just an estimate as how much your guest will give really varies. It is hard to know exactly how much red packet you will get. So, always factor in that you may get lesser red packets.

 

House

Those who've read my blog earlier would know that I have a blog post on the estimated cost of buying a 4 room HDB flat in Singapore. For convenience sake, I will just list down the upfront cost which you may need for your new house.

 
  1. Down payment for new 4 room flat: $30,000
  2. Renovation & miscellaneous fees: $15,000-$20,000
  3. Buying of furniture and household items: $8,000-$15,000
Total cost for house: $53,000-$65,000

 
Down payment for your house can be paid by CPF. If you have the 10% down payment already in your CPF ordinary account, then you do not need to fork out additional cash. Still, after paying for the down payment, typical cost for your new home will be around $23,000 to $35,000.

 

Combined cost to start a family in Singapore

 
Cost of Wedding + buying a house = Range of $76,000 to $91,000 cash (excluding down payment paid by CPF and excluding Ang Bao collected)

 
This is the cost that is expected for starting a family in Singapore. If you're planning to get married and buy a house, have you got the amount of savings in cash already? Do you have the $30,000 in your CPF OA account? The above cost does not factor in the Ang Baos money that you'll be getting. I've excluded it because you will not know how much Ang Bao you will be getting. Any amount you get back is a bonus and this will be your extra savings for your new marriage. I don't think you want to start a new family with zero savings right?

 
Most couples will have to share half of the cost each. So it's $38,000 cash for each person if they spend $76,000 in total. If you plan to get married in 3 years time, you'll roughly need to save $12,700 per year per person.

 
This brings me to the point that you need roughly 3 years to prepare and save up in order to start a family. That's if you can save roughly $12k per year. If you can't, then give yourself a longer time to prepare.

 
If you have a partner now, start talking about the preparation for the new life. For the guy who's serious about the girl you love, start planning and preparing now. Face up to reality that you need money for your new family which you're going to form. For the girl who's serious about the guy you love, plan together with your future husband. Sit down together as a couple and discuss on your new family plans.

 
With proper preparation, you're on the way to a great new life. There will surely be lesser arguments when the time comes for you to get married and buy a house.
 

What if I really can't afford it?

The cost may be too huge for some people. Wedding can actually be cheaper and you can save a lot by sourcing for cheaper deals. The wedding banquet will be the most expensive among all the cost. So if you can't afford it, then go for a cheaper banquets at a restaurant instead of a hotel ballroom. Some may even prefer not to have the banquet and go for a simple wedding with lunch reception only. That's your choice.

 
There's a good guide on wedding banquet price list for 2014 here: http://singaporebrides.com/wedding_banquet_pricelist.php

 
Some restaurants have banquets priced at $500-$800 per table. It may be a more affordable alternative.

 
On buying your first house, it is important to calculate your budget so that you do not overstretch yourself. If you can't afford a 4 room flat, buy a 3 room flat instead. Read: A couple should buy a 3 room HDB flat if combined gross income is less than $4000
 

Advice on debt

I know there are 2 years 0% interest free credit card instalment plans out there for your wedding. Even when you buy furniture from places like Courts, there are interest free instalment plans. It may seem like a short cut and an easy way out for many couples who do not have enough savings. However, remember even if you take the 2 years plan now, you still have to pay up the amount in the future.
 
Let's say if you spend $76,000 in total and you take a 2 years interest free instalment plan. This works out to a monthly repayment of $3166 per month. Yikes. That's a lot to pay! Not forgetting you still have to pay $1000+ for your housing loan! Can you afford to pay $4000+ per month?

 
I hope you get the idea from the example above. Debt is a burden and in the event if you lose your job, you'll be in greater trouble. But anyway you can't take on too much debt now as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has restricted the total debt you can take to be 60% of your gross monthly income. This includes your housing loan, student loans, credit card debts etc.
 

Conclusion

Definitely there is a lot to plan for the 2 biggest event of your life. Give yourself roughly 3-4 years to plan beforehand. Don't wait till its too late and you succumb yourself to take the short cut of taking on massive debts. Financial problems can be avoided. A family that manages finances well will be a happy family.

 
P.S: Have you got married recently? Share your experiences by commenting below. How much did you spend on your wedding and on your house? Are there any tips on cheap and good deals? Are there any mistakes you've made before? Let other readers know so that everyone can learn together.

 
Share this article with your friends who're planning for their new life.

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